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Elise Manion

Author of Contemporary Romantic Fiction

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healthcare

Keto Me

DISCLAIMER: This article is about me and my own results. I am not a doctor, nor a licensed health-care professional. Eating Keto is a personal preference.

Last spring I changed doctors. If you’ve read my previous posts about my dad, you’ll understand why I switched…. we shared the same primary care physician; you know, the one who said his cough was related to something called The Hundred Day cough, when really it was lung cancer. <insert a sarcastic eyeroll here>

But I digress.

When I established with my new doc, she printed out a lab slip and off I went to get my blood drawn. My results came back with a resting glucose of 107. Anything under 100 is considered normal, and I’d never had high glucose before. Unfortunately, type-2 diabetes runs on my father’s side of the family and I’m of an age when these things begin to show up. To say I freaked is putting it mildly. And so the research began because I was not going down the Metformin road, or any other prescription drug with hideous side effects, like chronic diarrhea. NO. WAY. Don’t believe me? Talk to someone taking that stuff, or you can just listen to all the hideous side effects listed in the commercials.

Image 10-27-18 at 4.51 PMAnd so began the research. I found a ton of sites dedicated to regulating blood sugar with proper diet, exercise, and prescription medicine, but there were also sites talking about disease as being diet related and that most of these “diseases” could be treated just by eating right. Things like cancer, autism, asthma, and diabetes. Then I found a Netflix documentary called The Magic Pill.  It blamed the standard America diet (S.A.D. – how apropos) on the increased amount of dietary diseases over the past century, linking the amount of carbohydrates vs protein vs fats indicated in the pyramid to chronic inflammatory disease. One segment even studied the effects of a ketogenic diet on middle aged people with type-2 diabetes. It was an eye opener. Actually, the whole documentary overflowed with data from not only the United States, but Canada, Australia, South Africa, and Europe, going back over the past century.

Eating Keto means we get our fuel from good, healthy fats instead of refined sugars and grains, i.e. carbohydrates. In my case, I also eliminated all processed foods, and added non-GMO and organic foods. That means that I don’t eat bread, corn chips, potato chips, Cheetos (oh man, this was a hard one because I was eating a small bag everyday at work!), fruits, potatoes and starchy veggies etc. And absolutely no sugar. None. Not even honey. I was motivated because I did not want type-2 diabetes.

I began eating this way at the end of May, so I’m working on 24 weeks now. Since then I’ve dropped almost twenty pounds, my head feels clear, and I haven’t been sick. However, I’ve been craving things like fried rice, or a fully loaded baked potato. Then, again, it’s football season and the need to eat nachos and chicken wings, along with other bar food is right in my face! What I think is strange, though, is that I don’t crave bread. The only time I want a cracker is when I want to put something yummy on it like brie.

These cravings occurred right before my follow-up appointment. My doctor congratulated me on the weight loss, lectured me that while Keto is great for initial weight loss, there’s really no scientific evidence that eating this way can be sustainable. She recommended that I begin adding back into my diet healthy grains and fruits. I immediately bought some grapes! Yay! I also had my blood drawn. Before I get to how I feel adding back some carbs, here are the results from my blood test, which I thought were interesting according to this brief explanation of cholesterol on WebMD.

  • Total Cholesterol: April 143, October 132
  • Triglycerides: April 115, October 53
  • VLDL: April 23, October 11
  • LDL: April 67, October 61
  • HDL: April 53, October 60
  • Fasting Glucose: April 107, October 99
  • A1C: This test wasn’t given in April but my October number is 5.0. The normal range is 4.8 – 5.6 so I’m right where I should be. Thank Goodness!

What blew me away were the Triglycerides! Triglycerides are the amounts of fats traveling in the bloodstream. Keep in mind with a Keto diet, 70-80% of my diet consists of healthy FAT, such as avocados, unrefined coconut oil in my coffee or tea, whole milk, Avocado oil in my salad, or on my keto friendly “sandwiches” which are meat and veggies wrapped in provolone–what a yummy lunch; and healthy seeds and nuts. I want to stress that I didn’t always stick to it. On Sundays during the summer, My Man and I like to go to the movies and there is no way I can watch a movie without popcorn and all that wonderful butter! Even with about four cheat days a month, my numbers are great!

Naturally I wanted to celebrate by … EATING SOME CARBS! I took a small snack of grapes to work, and My Man brought home some Mexican food. As of this writing, my guts are NOT. HAPPY.  I didn’t overdo it on either the grapes or the delicious dinner. Most of my meal consisted of the carne asada, with a few bites of refried beans and rice. We shared it. However, the icky gut feeling began with the grapes! I don’t know what it means, but I do know that I have to be very careful when reintroducing healthy carbs.

For now, my cravings have stopped. I will re-introduce natural carbs, like potatoes and apples at a slow pace, maybe two days a week and see how my guts feel. Otherwise, I’m sticking with Keto. As I progress, I’ll keep you updated.

If you have any insights into Keto, type-2 diabetes, or healthy eating in general, please give me a shout out in the comments.

 

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The Cancer Won; Healthcare Failed

In a previous post, I wrote about my father’s diagnosis of metastatic melanoma to the lungs and liver. At that time it wasn’t known that the nodules had also spread to his brain. Though he fought the good fight, my father succumbed to this horrific disease on March 20th, just two weeks to the day after receiving word from his oncologist that the nodules in his lungs had grown significantly and that the treatment (immunotherapy) wasn’t working. The oncologist recommended hospice for the next month or two. Dad was sixty-eight when he passed away.

Melanoma is a sneaky bitch. In my father’s case, he developed a brownish spot on his cheek ten years ago. It wasn’t dark and we all thought it was just an age spot, even his general practitioner. He said he had a treatment that would “bleach” the spot so it wouldn’t be noticeable. It was an in-office procedure and the spot scabbed up and went away for a few months before returning a hideous dark brown to black. The doctor said nothing.

When Dad went to the dermatologist, it was found to be melanoma and they did surgery to remove it. He was left with a huge “z” shape scar but it healed so well that after a month or so the scar was barely visible. When they removed the section, it was determined that the cancer was “lateral” and that it had not spread. He would be fine.

That was three years ago.

Last year, my father developed a cough; a nagging, nonproductive tickle that was so bad that he would lose his breath. He had other symptoms, too, like shortness of breath and becoming exhausted after minimal exertion. He told his general practitioner, who told Dad not to worry, that he was only suffering from “the hundred day cough.” Then my father told his cardiologist, who monitored him for a possible heart condition, other than his high blood pressure and AFIB (irregular heartbeat). Still the cough persisted, but the cardiologist found nothing unusual otherwise.  Dad then told his otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat doctor) and was told it was probably allergies. In the mean time, he kept up his regular appointments with his dermatologist who proceeded to burn off any skin lesions or irregular spots that were found on his body, but the dermatologist said nothing about his cough.

No one thought to order a chest x-ray until eight months later. Hello? HE HAD A COUGH.  Shouldn’t that have been the first thing to order, especially with his history of melanoma?

Needless to say,  my faith in the medical profession is greatly shaken.  I am beyond angry that my father lost his life because this wasn’t detected a year ago. I am frustrated that no forewarnings, no scans, no check-ups were advised after the initial lesion was removed from his face. I’m heartbroken that he wasn’t given any information about melanoma; no brochures, no literature, no anything. No talk about metastasizing lesions or survival rates by stage.

None of us saw this coming because we were told they “got it all.” Had my father been given some basic information about melanoma instead of just a pat on the back and shown the door, maybe, JUST MAYBE, he’d be sitting next to me right now helping me blog something different, like good treatment options, diet, sun protection, CBDs, etc. But no advice was given. He was just sent on his way.

Through the course of his short illness, there were roadblocks left and right in treatment and in the way insurance handled billing. He was even denied cough syrup! Ironically, once he was on hospice, the cough syrup was covered. Nothing made sense.

I have a lot of questions, lots of thoughts going through my mind but trying to remain objective is difficult because Dad is in Heaven now. Though I know that he is no longer in pain, and in a much better place, Mom and I are still missing him greatly. I can’t help but think that the gaping hole in our lives left by my father’s death could’ve been avoided if only ONE of his physicians had taken him seriously and looked at his chest last April.

My advice to anyone diagnosed with this heinous form of cancer is to make your doctors listen to you. Don’t let them sweep your symptoms under a rug or offer antiquated diagnoses like “the hundred day cough.” Make them do their job.

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